How to Choose the Right Breast Implant Size
Originally published on February 29, 2016. Republished on August 28, 2023 with additional information.
Breast augmentation is a transformative procedure that allows individuals to enhance their breast size and shape. One of the crucial decisions perspective patients must determine is choosing the right breast implant size. In this blog post, we will explore the various factors to consider when selecting the ideal implant size, including lifestyle, desired results, long-term goals, and available resources. By making an informed decision, patients can achieve their desired outcome and minimize the need for revision procedures.
How are breast implants sized?
Breast implants are measured in cubic centimeters (cc) of volume, rather than traditional bra cup sizes. While most implants fall within the range of 300cc to 400cc, sizes ranging from 100cc to 800cc are available in the United States, with the FDA-approved maximum being 800cc. Among the available options, 400cc tends to be the most common implant size. It is important to note that bra cup sizes may vary between manufacturers, and the relationship between implant size and cup size is not always linear.
Benefits of smaller implants
- Subtle breast enhancement without altering shape: Smaller implants can provide a natural-looking enhancement that complements the existing breast shape.
- Smaller incision required = smaller scar: The incision needed for smaller implants is generally smaller, resulting in a less noticeable scar.
- More natural-looking results: Smaller implants can offer a result that appears more in line with the patient’s natural proportions.
Benefits of larger implants
- Maximum enhancement, more drastic end result: Larger implants can provide a significant increase in breast size and create a more dramatic appearance.
Factors to consider when choosing implant size
- Activity level: For patients who lead an active lifestyle or participate in sports, larger breasts may pose challenges or discomfort.
- Personal Style: Consider the patient’s preference for braless options or clothing styles that require larger breasts to fill them out.
- Attention: Patients should decide whether they are comfortable with others knowing their breasts are augmented and consider the settings where “dressing down” might be necessary (e.g., a job interview)
Desired End Result
- Natural vs. enhanced look: Patients should decide whether they prefer a more natural-looking augmentation or a more noticeably augmented appearance.
- Frame and body type: Consider how implant size will fit the patient’s proportions. Petite women who desire a more natural result may opt for smaller implants, while full-figured individuals (with broad shoulders and a wide chest cavity) or those with a higher amount of natural breast tissue can choose larger implants and still achieve a balanced and natural result.
- Future lifestyle considerations: Consider how the chosen implant size will align with the patient’s lifestyle including physical activity over the long term, ensuring that it remains suitable and comfortable.
What happens when the patient chooses the wrong size?
Choosing a size that is too small may result in not achieving the desired enhancement, leading to potential dissatisfaction and a desire for revision surgery. Opting for implants that are too large can result in self-consciousness, difficulty hiding the augmentation, potential physical discomfort, and limitations in physical activities.
Ways To Try Different Implant Sizes Prior To Surgery
There are a couple of great ways perspective breast augmentation patients can “try on” different implant sizes prior to undergoing surgery. This will allow both patient and surgeon to determine an ideal implant size range.
- In-Office Implant Sizers: During consultations with a plastic surgeon, patients can try on different implant sizers to visualize how each option will look in relation to their body. It can be helpful to have a trusted friend or significant other present for additional support.
- Online Resources: Utilize resources such as before-and-after photo cases of patients with similar body types to see how such a sized implant will look on your body frame. Patients can also visit websites like RealSelf or JustBreastImplants.com which offer opportunities for prospective patients to interact with those who have undergone the procedure, providing valuable insights and perspectives.
- Your Surgeon: A skilled and experienced board certified plastic surgeon will be able to help you choose the right implant by providing first-hand guidance on how each implant size will alter not only her appearance, but her function and lifestyle. Your doctor will recommend a breast implant size, but this is based on many factors including your body measurements and your personal goals. The end choice is the patients alone!
Recommended steps for choosing implant size
- Patient Size Goal: Determine the desired result in terms of enhancing size, often described in terms of cup size.
- Surgeon Recommendation: The plastic surgeon will consider the patient’s size goals, chest wall size, existing breast tissue, overall frame, and lifestyle factors to provide a recommendation for the ideal implant size.
- Try for Size: Use breast implant sizers recommended by the surgeon to visualize how each size will look. Consider proportions, symmetry, and overall aesthetics during this process.
- Adjust for Symmetry: The surgeon will examine natural breast symmetry with sizers and may choose slightly different implant volumes to minimize any visible size discrepancies.
- Surgery: If using silicone implants, they are pre-filled and not adjustable. However, if saline implants are used, the surgeon may adjust the final volume during the procedure to optimize the result.
What if I choose the wrong size?
For patients who are unhappy with the results of their breast augmentation, it is possible to undergo a revision procedure to upgrade or downgrade the implant size. However, it is important to note that breast augmentation revision surgery is often more complex than the initial procedure, involving additional considerations and potential challenges.
Choosing the right breast implant size is a crucial decision when undergoing breast augmentation. By considering factors such as lifestyle, desired outcome, long-term goals, and using resources like in-office sizers, patients can make an informed choice. It is essential to consult with a skilled and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon who can guide through the process and help patients achieve the best possible results. Remember, the ultimate choice of implant size is the patients, and by taking the time to explore the different options, patients can achieve their desired outcome and boost their self-confidence.
Additional Posts On Breast Augmentation
- Silicone Vs. Saline Breast Implants: What’s The Difference?
- Breast Implant Placement: Over vs. Under The Muscle